Thursday, November 11, 2010

Watts are not Watts

A nice benefit of using a power meter is that it accruately protrays your efforts. You can't, for example, use speed as a good effort indicator. Single-digit speeds may be a heroic effort if the road is steep enough or the headwind strong enough. Power measures the effort much better.


Watts are not always the perfect measure either. Last night weather forced me onto the rollers. This was my first attempt at riding intervals on them. Let me say this... ### watts on rollers > ### watts on a trainer > ### watts on the road. Even on the smoothest, flattest road you still have variations in speed that apparently allow for significant recovery. You have less on the trainer. The resistance is constant. And there's absolutely no interruption. But you can still 'coast'. On rollers... you don't even get the minimal 'coasting' effect you get on a trainer. You spin without interruption - because stopping means falling off! And effort changes are hugely apparent because of the gyroscopic effect. As your wheels decelerate you get shoved to the side.

It makes a huge difference. The legs obtain an amazing amount of recovery with just a few lightened pedal strokes. These aren't as freely available on the rollers. That's a good thing. Makes for a better workout. But it may mean that I need to adjust my workout durations. I plan for the road. But may need to come up with some multiplier for the trainer. Clearly... they are not equivalent.

Last night was my first attempt at intervals on rollers. Longest ride on rollers to date as well. I'm happy to report that after almost two hours I didn't get bored to tears nor was my butt beat to a pulp. Those are my two biggest complaints after being on a stationary trainer for more than about 40min. I've heard of people doing epic 4hour indoor rides. On a trainer this would lead me to jump off the nearest bridge. I can easily see me doing this on rollers though. I can't say enough about what a revolution this is for me.